Premier League Matchday 18 Preview and Tips
This weekend is something of an unusual one in the Premier League as we have our first confirmed postponed game of the season and it is nothing to do with the weather for once. Liverpool are unable to play their game at West Ham as they are in Qatar competing in the FIFA Club World Cup and as such, they will not be able to maintain their lead at the top of the table this weekend, with the game set to be rescheduled for some time in the spring.
That means the other teams chasing the reds, notably Leicester and Manchester City have a chance to claw back some of the ground they have lost. However, this weekend Leicester face Manchester City at the Etihad in a blockbuster game that neither team will feel they can afford to lose. Similarly, on Sunday, fourth placed Chelsea face fifth placed Tottenham in a London derby game that promises to be equally enthralling and sees Jose Mourinho return to face a former club for the second time in a matter of weeks.
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Let’s now take a closer look at the action set to take place this weekend in the Premier League, as well as giving you our tips for each of the games.
Premier League Fixtures – Matchday 18
All Kick off times are 3pm on Saturday unless stated.
Everton v Arsenal (12.30pm)
Could we have Carlo Ancelotti and/or Mikel Arteta in charge of both these teams by Saturday? That seems to be the case as we head towards this game. Both teams are in disarray having sacked their managers, though Everton have picked up four points from two games since Duncan Ferguson took temporary charge. Arsenal look a side divided and even if Arteta comes in, it is hard to see how he can offer a quick fix here. Correct Score Tip – Everton 2-1 Arsenal – 10/1.
Aston Villa v Southampton
Both of these teams don’t have the best recent form and come into this game on the back of multiple losses. Both teams have 15 points and sit next to each other in the table, though Villa’s goal difference is much healthier. A true relegation six-point game if ever there was one, I often feel home advantage in these games is often the decisive factor and with the Holte End roaring them on, I am backing Villa to take the win. Correct Score Tip – Aston Villa 1-0 Southampton – 11/1.
Bournemouth v Burnley
Bournemouth broke a long losing streak with a fabulous 1-0 win at Chelsea last week and they will be confident of backing that up with another three points at home to Burnley here. The visitors ended a three game losing streak with a win at home to Newcastle last weekend, so both teams have similar form at the moment. As such, I feel home advantage could be key here and while I can’t see there being many goals, I do feel Bournemouth will just clinch it. Correct Score Tip – Bournemouth 2-0 Burnley – 11/1.
Brighton v Sheffield United
Two teams in pretty decent form over the last couple of months and who, despite being amongst the favourites for the drop this season, are performing well above expectation. Both teams have given some bigger teams a real sharp shock in recent weeks and I can see this being a very closely fought contest. I think Brighton have the edge in attack but the Blades have the edge defensively and as such, I think this will likely end up with the spoils being shared. Correct Score Tip – Brighton 1-1 Sheffield United – 6/1.
Newcastle United v Crystal Palace
Two of the more inconsistent sides in the Premier League meet at St James’ Park where Newcastle have a very good record of late. Palace’s form is up and down, but they have not lost any of their last four, while Newcastle did go down to a defeat at Burnley last week. It is hard to see how shot shy Palace, who have just 15 goals this season (the 2nd lowest in the EPL) will score here and as a result, a single goal could be enough to win this for the home side. Correct Score Tip – Newcastle Utd 1-0 Crystal Palace – 13/2.
Norwich City v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolves loss at home to Spurs last week was just their third defeat of the season and ended their long run of games without a loss. Norwich earned a fine point away to Leicester last weekend, but I fear that this home game is going to be a very tough one for them. Teemu Pukki is their main man but if he doesn’t score, it is hard to see where they get the goals to beat this talented Wolves team. Correct Score Tip – Norwich City 0-2 Wolves – 10/1.
Manchester City v Leicester City (5.30pm)
The first of two massive games for Leicester City takes place on Saturday evening at the Etihad as they face a Manchester City team that bounced back to form with a fine 3-0 win away to Arsenal last week, as Leicester dropped points for the first time in a while with a 1-1 home draw with Norwich. The Foxes remain four points clear of City but ten behind Liverpool and they will know a defeat here will be a huge blow, especially with the game against Liverpool on Boxing Day looming. City know they need to continue the form they showed against Arsenal here and I think they will. Correct Score Tip – Manchester City 2-1 Leicester City – 8/1.
Watford v Man Utd (Sun, 2pm)
It’s hard to make a convincing case for Watford in this game. They have lost 16 of the last 17 against United and they have not won at home all season long. United’s away form isn’t great but that win against Manchester City last time out will have boosted their confidence a great deal. Solskjaer’s team are still way off from being the finished article, but even so, they should have more than enough to claim the win here. Correct Score Tip – Watford 0-1 Manchester United – 15/2.
Tottenham v Chelsea (Sun, 4.30pm)
Jose Mourinho will take on one of his key ex-players from when he was Chelsea boss in Frank Lampard in what is sure to be an interesting game at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium. Since taking over at Spurs, Mourinho has guided them to four wins in six and their improvement in form has come at a time when Chelsea are experiencing the reverse, with four losses in their last five games. If this was at Stamford Bridge, I’d give Chelsea a chance of ending that streak here against opponents that they have a good record against, but for me, I think Spurs will continue their good form and land the win here. Correct Score Tip – Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea – 10/1.